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The role of trees in climate change adaptation and mitigation

In response to today's speech by Environment Secretary Michael Gove on UK climate change projections, director of conservation and external affairs Abi Bunker said:

“Native trees and woodland need to play a key role in the urgent and important task of both adapting to inevitable climate change and of upping our game in mitigating further effects. The Secretary of State rightly flags the vital role of protecting our ancient woodlands, restoring and managing them well, and in creating much-needed new native woodlands. Their benefits are multi-faceted and need to be harnessed. They do so much more than lock up carbon. They provide life support to humans and wildlife.

The benefits of trees need to be harnessed to mitigate the effects of climate change (Photo: WTML)
The benefits of trees need to be harnessed to mitigate the effects of climate change (Photo: WTML)

"For this reason it is vital that all parts of Government embed this in their work – in our infrastructure and transport projects, in our farming and land management policies, in our budget decisions. Measures must be taken to communicate recent hard-fought changes to the National Planning Policy Framework affording ancient woodland and trees the highest level of protection to ensure that commitment is actually being met and delivered on the ground.

"We are pleased Government recognises the need to plant more trees whether that be on farms, in the uplands or in urban areas. However, increasing woodland cover by 2% seems to be unambitious considering the recent report by the Committee on Climate Change which called for a 9% increase. We welcome the Secretary of State’s announcement of an England Tree Strategy, which the Woodland Trust has been pressing for for some time, and look forward to taking part in the consultation."

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Notes to editors

Media enquiries only to Dee Smith on 01476 581121 or media@woodlandtrust.org.uk 

The Woodland Trust is the largest woodland conservation charity in the UK. It has over 500,000 supporters.

The Trust has three key aims:  i) protect ancient woodland which is rare, unique and irreplaceable, ii) restoration of damaged ancient woodland, bringing precious pieces of our natural history back to life, iii) plant native trees and woods with the aim of creating resilient landscapes for people and wildlife.

Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,000 sites in its care covering over 22,500 hectares. Access to its woods is free.